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Brexit Shock: Boris Johnson Moves to Suspend Parliament

Brexit Shock: Boris Johnson Moves to Suspend Parliament

Decision aimed at preventing pro-EU lawmakers from blocking no-deal Brexit.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuItFD5ofKg&t=332s

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has moved to suspend the British parliament for at least a month. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has approved this request, allowing for a suspension until October 14.

The decision comes as pro-EU Members of Parliament (MPs) are lobbying to prevent a possible no-deal Brexit.

The lawmakers opposed to Brexit have been rallying support to pass a bill forcing the government to seek an extension to the October 31 deadline, and call for a second referendum. On Tuesday, some 160 lawmakers from various parties signed the so-called ‘Church House deceleration’ vowing to “do whatever necessary” to stop no-deal Brexit.

Prime Minister Johnson denied that he was shutting down the parliament to prevent a debate.

“There will be ample time on both sides of that crucial October 17 Summit in Parliament for MPs to debate the EU, Brexit and all the other issues,” he said.

A group of 70 lawmakers has filed a court petition challenging the government’s decision.

The EU criticized the development, with EU parliament’s representative on Brexit, Guy Verhofstadt, calling it a “sinister” move. “EU officials said it heightened the chances of a no-deal outcome,” the leftist British newspaper The Guardian reported.

British newspaper The Independent explained how the suspension might sideline pro-EU lawmakers from blocking no-deal Brexit:

If any MPs doubted Boris Johnson’s determination to take the UK out of the EU on 31 October, they will not do so now. The prime minister has dramatically announced he will stage a Queen’s speech on 14 October. It is an attempt to deprive MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit of the oxygen they need to pass a law forcing Johnson to seek an extension of the UK’s EU membership.

The number of Commons sitting days for that process is suddenly reduced. After a short sitting of about a week from next Tuesday, 3 September, MPs were due to return on 7 October after a three-week break for the annual party conferences. Instead, Boris will suspend parliament around 10-12 September. It will not resume until the Queen’s Speech, which will be followed by several days of debate on the measures included in it lasting until October 21-22.

That will leave a tiny window of opportunity for the Commons and Lords to pass a law to prevent no deal by 31 October. Probably an impossibly small one.

Recently, Johnson accused pro-EU lawmakers of ‘collaborating’ with Brussels to prevent Brexit. “There’s a terrible collaboration, as it were, going on between people who think they can block Brexit in parliament and our European friends,” he said on August 14.

The news comes as a big blow to Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party. He has been trying to win over pro-EU Conservative MPs to oust Johnson’s government and install himself as the leader of a caretaker government. “I am appalled at the recklessness of Johnson’s government, which talks about sovereignty and yet is seeking to suspend parliament to avoid scrutiny of its plans for a reckless no-deal Brexit,” Corbyn said.

The decision shocked the media commentators as well. “Opponents of a no-deal Brexit just got royally outflanked,” CNN admitted. “With Brexit Gambit, Boris Johnson Reveals a Ruthless Side,” the headline in the New York Times said. UK newspaper Daily Telegraph was more sober in its analysis, reminding that: “Johnson [was] giving Remainers a taste of their own medicine.”

President Donald Trump praised the move on Twitter, describing PM Johnson as “exactly” the kind of leader “the U.K. has been looking.”

Johnson’s bold decision shows his determination to deliver Brexit. He is using constitutional means at his disposal to fulfill the wishes of the people expressed in the June 2016 referendum.

The prime minister faces a few tough weeks ahead. The hostile EU has stalled every effort to deliver a clean Brexit. The establishment politicians in the UK continue to do Brussels’s bidding. The next sixty days will decide if the UK will regain its lost sovereignty or accept its status as the 28th state of the European Union.

[Cover image via YouTube]

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Comments

Shit is getting out of hand. This brings me hope.

UnCivilServant | August 28, 2019 at 3:18 pm

So why reconvene on October 14th and not November 4th?

    Milhouse in reply to UnCivilServant. | August 28, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    Perhaps because, as Johnson claims, the suspension’s purpose is not to block anti-Brexit attempts in the Parliament.

    But even supposing it is, he couldn’t suspend it until after Brexit. Not only would that guarantee a vote of no confidence the moment it reconvened, it would probably also guarantee a vote to retroactively cancel Brexit, which the EU would accept with glee. Remember Parliament is sovereign, and Johnson has to defer to it. He says he is doing that, and if it really wants to vote Brexit down it will have a chance to do so.

    legacyrepublican in reply to UnCivilServant. | August 28, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    Can’t do that guy! It would be Fawkes News. Parliament is already enough of a powder keg.

Humphrey's Executor | August 28, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Just so long as the Queen throws someone, anyone, in the Tower it’ll be a win.

Decision aimed at preventing pro-EU lawmakers from blocking no-deal Brexit.

Is that your own opinion, or are you just repeating what the critics say? After all, Johnson has explicitly denied that this was the decision’s purpose, and I see no reason to doubt his word.

As he pointed out, Parliament will have plenty of time when it comes back to vote on whatever it likes. And of course Parliament is sovereign, so whatever it decides goes.

Meanwhile I really don’t see how any court could possibly order the Queen to recall Parliament, let alone order it to reconvene of its own accord. The UK’s constitution doesn’t work like that.

    Since the very issue at hand is UK’s sovereignty, why wouldn’t “the sovereign” whose very reason to exist step in to frustrate the never ending nonsense that threatens to put the UK (and her) out of business? She is the head of state for not only England but 15 other countries and has the constitutional authority to suspend Parliament without debate. So far as I know, and I’m no expert, there is no appeal. It’s time for Parliament to step aside and respect the will of the people. Good for her.

      notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Pasadena Phil. | August 28, 2019 at 6:57 pm

      See this (even if you don’t believe in the pastor’s beliefs) to see how the good pastor accurately sums of the thugs in U.S. politics as well as the UK parliament.

      “Thugs who will kill you in a minute!”

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=8&v=a2MU9DBDmfw

      Sanddog in reply to Pasadena Phil. | August 28, 2019 at 9:36 pm

      She agreed because if she attempted to block him, it would be seen as a political move. No one (including the Queen) really wants her to start taking an active role in the politics of the country since that would threaten the existence of the monarchy.

      Milhouse in reply to Pasadena Phil. | August 28, 2019 at 11:25 pm

      In the UK sovereignty rests with Parliament, not with the titular sovereign. That was established by the Glorious Revolution. Elizabeth is queen only because Parliament, having conducted an executive search, hired her 7-times-great-grandmother Sophie, and has chosen since then to stick with the line; but any time it likes it can repeal the Act of Settlement and fire her. In the meantime she has to do whatever her ministers advise her to do, which in this case was to prorogue Parliament.

        I hope we have readers in the UK who will challenge this assertion. The Queen is THE sovereign. She is officially the head of state for not only England, but 15 other countries (known as commonwealths). England’s sovereignty rests with the crown.

        The Queen opens Parliament every year by addressing the House of Lords but NEVER the House of Commons where she is not even allowed to enter.

        This wasn’t a political move but an existential move. Parliament does NOT have the constitutional power to give away national sovereignty. Just as Congress doesn’t have the authority to have been giving away our national sovereignty.

          PoliticsAddict in reply to Pasadena Phil. | August 29, 2019 at 9:48 am

          The truth lies somewhere in between, in my opinion. Parliament is sovereign and can indeed give away national sovereignty, as it did for example when the UK joined the EEC/EC/EU in the first place. Although we have had several referenda and politically they are impossible to ignore, they have technically only been advisory in nature.

          My understanding is that Milhouse is correct that, in normal circumstances, the Queen must follow the advice of her ministers, but that such advice, in certain circumstances, could be challenged. (E.g. the absurd case where they advised her to pro-rogue for 10 years, for example)

          Without a written constitution, current events may well provide test cases to determine exactly what can and cannot be done, e.g. the Miller case which established that an act of parliament was necessary before notifying under Article 50, where previously it had been thought the government/Queen could act unilaterally.

          Milhouse in reply to Pasadena Phil. | August 29, 2019 at 11:57 pm

          I hope we have readers in the UK who will challenge this assertion. The Queen is THE sovereign. She is officially the head of state for not only England, but 15 other countries (known as commonwealths). England’s sovereignty rests with the crown.

          No. The Queen is the sovereign, but she is not actually sovereign; Parliament is. That’s what the Glorious Revolution was about.

          England isn’t a state, so she can’t be head of it. She is the head of state of the UK and a fair number of other states, but they are not known as commonwealths; they are known as dominions. The UK is one of her dominions, Canada is another. Each dominion is independent of the others, and she acts in each on the advice of that dominion’s government, which means she can contradict herself. In principle, if one dominion were to go to war against another, she would be at war with herself. Thankfully that’s unlikely to happen. The only one of her dominions that is known as a commonwealth is Australia.

          And Parliament is sovereign, which means it can do whatever it likes — but it can’t bind its successors. So it can temporarily “give away” sovereignty to bodies like the EU, but the next parliament can take it back, so it’s not really given away, more like lent.

          BTW, PoliticsAddict, why do you put a hyphen in “prorogue”?

          PoliticsAddict in reply to Pasadena Phil. | August 30, 2019 at 3:21 am

          I think the whole “can’t bind its successors” issue is much less clear when it comes to international treaties etc. It would be problematic if the UK could agree an international treaty which e.g. brought immediate benefits and later costs and a later parliament could simply nullify the costs.

          Certainly people argued that parliament could simply repeal the act which led the UK to join in the 1970’s and forget about the whole Article 50 process. But this would imply that the UK has an ongoing right to simply withdraw from any international obligations with no penalty. It didn’t seem clear at all.

          From memory at the time I think the majority felt that yes, parliament is sovereign as to UK law, but international obligations are another thing, i.e. they can certainly revoke the law, but not necessarily the legacy/impact.

          The whole discussion around the 39bn exit bill has, in part, been about enforceability and whether the EU has standing in any court to pursue obligations, if any actually exist. There, because the EU is not actually a country, the conclusion was that they are probably unenforceable, but if the UK had contracted with another country, that would be a different case.

          Ultimately when it comes to international obligations at the end of the day we reach the realm of realpolitik and who has the force to pursue them.

          Prorogue/Pro-rogue is entirely unintentional (Freudian slip, as in helping Boris?)

          Milhouse in reply to Pasadena Phil. | August 30, 2019 at 11:30 am

          I think the whole “can’t bind its successors” issue is much less clear when it comes to international treaties etc. It would be problematic if the UK could agree an international treaty which e.g. brought immediate benefits and later costs and a later parliament could simply nullify the costs.

          Certainly people argued that parliament could simply repeal the act which led the UK to join in the 1970’s and forget about the whole Article 50 process. But this would imply that the UK has an ongoing right to simply withdraw from any international obligations with no penalty. It didn’t seem clear at all.

          That’s just the nature of treaties — they can be abrogated at any time. In fact, since in the UK Parliament is not involved in signing treaties, it seems clear to me that it needn’t be involved in abrogating them either, though of course it can do so if it wants to.

          Even in the USA, where the senate is involved in making treaties, it seems that the president can abrogate them on his own authority. But there’s never been any question that Congress can abrogate treaties.

          PoliticsAddict in reply to Pasadena Phil. | August 30, 2019 at 1:12 pm

          In my opinion it is simply not correct that parliament has no role in abrogating treaties, or indeed in signing treaties which impact UK law. It all depends.

          Here is the first Miller judgement from the Supreme Court:

          https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/docs/uksc-2016-0196-judgment.pdf

          (I say “first Miller” because Gina Miller is also the lead plaintiff in the current case, to be heard next week)

          See, for example, p. 34 section 101 “Accordingly, we consider that, in light of the terms and effect of the 1972 Act, and subject to considering the effect of subsequent legislation and events, the prerogative could not be invoked by ministers to justify giving Notice: ministers require the authority of primary legislation before they can take that course.”

          55/56 discuss how impact on UK domestic law limits the treaty-making power. So it is is more complicated than you suggest and depends on the nature of the treaty. In this case, because the EU legislation actually creates UK law directly, the two concepts are hard to untangle.

          I think your argument was more or less the government’s case if I understand it correctly. They lost and there is all sorts of background in this ruling about the prerogative powers and their restrictions.

          Ironically enough, this case, brought by Gina Miller (a remainer) may be what leads to no-deal Brexit. Although opinions differ, this case was what produced the act of parliament which in turn triggered the Article 50 notice. As an act, it can only be overturned by another act, which is why it is now so difficult to simply extend the timetable, because the exit date is part of the statute.

          Maybe we are getting too deep into the weeds here, but I think the general point is that there are restrictions on various prerogative powers and we are about to find out what some of them are.

        https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2019/08/29/off-with-her-head-soros-funded-best-for-britain-group-threatens-queen-over-brexit/

        “…Britain’s assertion that prorogation is unconstitutional also seems dubious, as it would not have been approved if if there was no legal basis for it — and the great constitutional jurist A V Dicey was clear that “The House [of Commons] can in accordance with the constitution be deprived of power [when] there is fair reason to suppose that the opinion of the House is not the opinion of the electors” in his seminal Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution.”

        England held a national referendum to establish “the opinion of the electors”.

    PoliticsAddict in reply to Milhouse. | August 29, 2019 at 9:26 am

    I enjoy your posts and independence of thought in reading LI for a while so I thought I’d register to post a reply here, as a Brit who follows this very closely.

    In my opinion (not alone), what he has done here is a throw a very finely judged spanner in the works of pro-remain MP’s.

    If he had pro-rogued past Brexit date, there would have been a much higher chance of a successful legal challenge. The challenge would be not to the Queen for following advice, but that he could not constitutionally issue such advice. In addition, he would lose part of the coalition within his party which is enjoying the professionalism and impact since he took over, but would find that indeed a step too far.

    It is not credible though to say that the decision had nothing to do with Brexit (and everyone on both sides knows this despite tongue-in-cheek comments to the contrary) – MP’s would likely have tried to remove or reduce the conference recess. Because pro-rogueing can remove legislation which hasn’t completed passage, he has turned 5-6 weeks to pass anti-Brexit legislation into 2 short periods. Other delaying tactics may then be used to try and stop the legislative route.

    But he can quite rightly point to the fact that a short period pre- Queen’s Speech is normal, that they were due to recess for much of the time anyhow. Most critically for the courts, parliament could, if it wanted to, pass a no confidence vote under the Fixed Term Parliament Act and then a vote of confidence in an alternative government. So by doing this, he should successfully convince the courts that this is a political problem and if parliament doesn’t act, that is their own issue and not a constitutional dilemma.

    What he has done is to make it much harder, whilst staying on the right side of hardball tactics. But there are several PR battles to be won – whether he or the remain MP’s are “protecting democracy” and whether the UK or EU are to blame.

    He has set up a bit of a win-win for himself here:

    If MP’s don’t act in the first short window, his leverage with the EU increases a lot and he can then come back and force any deal through parliament, as they would likely vote for anything he comes back with. He will lose some of the ERG/no-deal supporters, but will likely be able to sell this as achieving in a few months what parliament couldn’t achieve in 3 years. The fact that his opponents have repeatedly said that changes to the backstop are impossible will make it easier to sell such changes as success in a subsequent election.

    If the EU doesn’t budge, he will likely convince the electorate that they are being unreasonable and in any case it is illogical for them to insist on a backstop which produces a hard border through no-deal rather than try and work out a solution during the transition period.

    If no-deal legislation is passed or a no confidence vote is lost, he will then fight a people-vs-the-establishment election. Even though leave/remain is still a bit of a 50/50 proposition, he can win a handsome majority if remain is split between Labour and the LibDems.

    So to address your points directly:
    – we all know (and today the defence minister sort of conceded) that it is at the very least convenient for their Brexit plans, but they have not strayed so far away from the norm and actually it is about time to have a new Queen’s Speech
    – Parliament will have enough time for a no confidence vote if it wants, but it will not have “plenty of time” to pass legislation, which is what is needed to extend. They might get it through and Bercow will assist, but nobody really knows the answer to this question. Previously they would have had plenty of time, so this is a real change and presumably the whole point
    – A court, specifically the Supreme Court, could, at the end of the day, intervene. Imagine the case, for example, that they asked the Queen to prorogue parliament for 10 years. But it would be messy.

    Hope that adds a perspective to the debate

      Alex deWynter in reply to PoliticsAddict. | August 29, 2019 at 10:07 pm

      Thank you, Pol, if I may call you that 🙂

      It’s been tough trying to figure out what’s going on from all the way over here and it’s great to have an explanation from someone ‘in the know,’ so to speak.

        PoliticsAddict in reply to Alex deWynter. | August 30, 2019 at 3:50 am

        Thank you for your kind comments. I’m not sure if I’m “in the know” but I do know I spend far too much time on the topic and try to be balanced in what is a very polarised debate!

      I don’t think the courts would have any role even in an extreme case like that. If Parliament were to be prorogued or dissolved for long, supply would soon run out and the government would have to recall it or stop spending money. Even Charles I eventually had to summon a parliament. He managed to hold out for eleven years; with the size of government today that would be impossible.

        PoliticsAddict in reply to Milhouse. | August 30, 2019 at 3:39 am

        There are multiple imminent court cases right now on the issue in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. We will probably see at least interim rulings in the next few days. It isn’t a theoretical argument. There are various Twitter feeds of the hearings and arguments being brought.

        I think they will all lose (maybe via appeal) but that they would have had a decent chance of success if he had gone all the way to Brexit date and that’s exactly why he chose the dates he did. It is possible that the reasoning may provide some more clarity, even if the government wins, on where at least the lower courts think the boundaries are. It is also possible/likely that either side will quickly appeal so we may have Supreme Court case law soon.

        We could also have a further interesting situation soon if parliament tries to pass a law next week directing the PM to advise the Queen to change the sitting dates. Don’t think that has ever happened before. This is also an important question in another respect as there is the question of what happens if they pass a law directing the PM to seek an extension and he actually ignores it. He would be in contempt, but the UK would (probably) still have left.

        The huge open question to my mind is can parliament actually manage to pass a bill with the government dead against it in such a short time period. On the one hand, the Speaker will assist. On the other, the Lords may try to filibuster. I think anyone that says they know for certain is fooling themselves. But we will find out over the next 14 days

        In a way I think the opponents aren’t actually served by these court cases, in that they will probably lose and then he will have an official “stamp of approval” from the courts that what was done was “fine”. In the absence of that, in my estimation that anti-Brexit folks have actually had some success in portraying this as something negative.

        I would expect all roads to lead to an election in the next 3 months and that is probably the least predictable election for decades given the 4-way split. So the PR battle matters – and the government for now has the best “salesman”/machine right now, but this has dented things a little.

          PoliticsAddict in reply to PoliticsAddict. | August 30, 2019 at 5:43 am

          Quick update:

          Scottish case interim judgement just denied, full hearing next week. Don’t really think this means much as there was already a full hearing before any potential prorogue date in this particular case so not obvious what an interim judgement would achieve. But looks like he has brought the hearing forward to Tuesday – to allow appeals in time?

          John Major (ex PM) asks to intervene in Miller case in England against government

          PoliticsAddict in reply to PoliticsAddict. | August 30, 2019 at 6:02 am

          So the key current dates for the 3 cases are now:

          Northern Ireland – interim injunction – today (would be amazed if not blocked)
          Scotland (70+ MPs) – full hearing – Tuesday
          England (Miller/Major) – full hearing – Thursday

          I still think they lose them all but through rulings/appeals we may get a bit more clarity on the UK’s famous unwritten constitution which may also provide a useful steer for related use of government power, e.g. perhaps rule out use of additional bank holidays/prorogue etc.

          First time I remember these sort of parallel cases in the way you get them in the US, somebody more familiar with the cases could maybe comment if there are any real differences or just essentially the same case brought in 3 different jurisdictions.

          That there are court cases going on doesn’t mean the judiciary actually has the authority to hear them. I would argue that the judges hearing the cases are ultra vires, and any decision they might make would be a nullity. (And I argue the same thing about many recent anti-Trump decisions in the USA; not most of them, but a significant number.)

          PoliticsAddict in reply to PoliticsAddict. | August 30, 2019 at 1:27 pm

          We are going to find out about the justiciability of these powers.

          It is different to Miller 1 because they are not using these powers to change domestic law (in fact thanks to Miller 1, a specific act already authorised no-deal).

          I think some commentators think the Fire Brigades case from 1995 established they cannot be used to frustrate the will of parliament.

          As I have said, I think they will lose on the specific facts based on my layman’s view, but if he had tried to go through exit date it may well have been different, based on the frustration argument. The team of lawyers she has assembled has already won one case at the Supreme Court and I don’t think anyone is questioning the authority of the Supreme Court to decide these cases if/when it reaches them.

          I don’t think anyone is questioning the authority of the Supreme Court to decide these cases if/when it reaches them.

          Well, they should be.

          PoliticsAddict in reply to PoliticsAddict. | September 2, 2019 at 3:04 am

          Genuine question – who/what/how should adjudicate an unwritten/uncodified constitution, if not the Supreme Court? How else can we determine what is/isn’t constitutional and/or modify the constitution?

          BTW in terms of new thoughts: this weekend I heard the first argument (that is not really being discussed much at all) that I found somewhat persuasive that they really will try/can ignore a bill, if the remainers manage to pass one, and survive a court challenge.

          It relates to multiple precedents that only a government minister can sponsor legislation which requires funding. Because extension entails contributions, they would have a real case that this bill should not be given royal assent. So they would withhold, remainers would launch a court challenge, might well win at the lower court level and then we will see. My understanding is that it relates to the fact that historically parliament wasn’t supposed to be able to demand that the king spends money.

          The government will argue/continue to argue that parliament is not supposed to govern and should either let them govern or replace them.

          I would suppose that if parliament addressed the issue head-on and explicitly changed this, that would be possible. But if they simply pass the extension bill, things would be much harder.

          For the time being the government is playing hardball with deselection threats etc. and will still presumably try and block passage of such a bill through whatever means it can, but if by the end of the week it looks as if a bill will pass, then I think this argument might be centre stage so am flagging it. I have not heard the counter argument to this beyond “it’s not fair” so would like to do so before coming to a firmer view, but for now it sounded quite strong to me. I suppose you would have to argue that by passing such a bill, parliament was implicitly voting for a constitutional change, but that sounds quite flimsy.

          Of course the more the Tory “rebels” believe their rebellion might be in vain, the less likely they are to rebel in the first place, especially as they have now been explicitly told they will be deselected for the next election.

          Enjoy your Labor Day break!

The opposition kicks, screams, lies, cheats, and steals to prevent a border wall being built here, and the opposition over there kicks, screams, lies, cheats, and steals to prevent Brexit.

Golly. It’s like there’s a globalist cabal for a collectivist one-world government. But that’s just crazy talk!

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to locomotivebreath1901. | August 28, 2019 at 7:00 pm

    Yes, that’s what the globalist cabal has always accused us with……

    “Ain’t nothing to see here. Move on while we kill, steal and rape.” – Globalist Cabal.

Sounds like something Donald Trump would do.

The guy is showing off his cajones.
Good move.

JusticeDelivered | August 28, 2019 at 4:26 pm

I hope Trump is discussing this with other world leaders, with the goal of promoting numerous trade deals for the UK which pull the EU’s bureaucrats fangs.

It would be kind of funny if a hard exit was promptly followed by such deals.

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. Give the opposition 10 days to argue and harrumph and then out on Halloween. Good times ahead, just gotta get the crying and gnashing-part over with.

Since Parliament has been in constant session for over 320 days if Google is right, the longest they’ve been in session in one long swoop since WWII, I think they deserve a break. They can go home, face their constituents, and try to find an answer to the age old EU bureaucracy question, “Why do we pay them so darned much money and get so little out of it?”

Just got home and read this.
I am bit surprised that the Queen agreed, but then of the choices for her now, this one seems to be the closest to what is the “will of the people”. Plus staying in the EU would probably lead to the eventual end of the monarchy anyway.

The funny thing is that before the Queem approved there were a lot out in social media saying that the Queen should abdicated so she wouldn’t have to approve Johnson’s move.

Funny thing is that the Queen would have to approve Corbyn’s caretaker government, if that plan ever got off the ground.

    Milhouse in reply to RodFC. | August 28, 2019 at 11:13 pm

    She didn’t have a choice. The Queen must act on her ministers’ advice, whether she agrees with it or not. And the ministers must retain the confidence of the Commons.

BREAKING NEWS: A Federal judge in Hawaii has ordered PM Johnson to (1) re-open Parliament immediately, (2) turn over all documents relating to Johnson’s negotiations with the EU, and (3) get a haircut.

(Just kidding. About the haircut, I mean)

Excellent move by the P.M. This does not eliminate the possibility of anti Brexit folks interfering while the P.M. tries to negotiate something better than a hard Brexit, but it seriously mitigates the opportunity. It also sends a clear message to the EU that Brexit is rapidly approaching and they can negotiate in good faith or hard Brexit it will be.

I truly believe that some of the EU leadership has not entered the acceptance stage. The EU President, Junker, releases statements that make him sound like a jilted teenage girl. Maybe this will finally get their attention, but likely not.

Mr. Johnson is NOT “suspending” Parliament.

He’s pro-roguing Parliament. Big difference, as explained here:

https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/occasions/prorogation/

By prorogation, Mr. Johnson is saying that the current Parliament has accomplished its mission, as stated in the last Queen’s message, and thus should end. It’s a standard move that sometimes is used to shut down the opposition, or when Parliament has run its course.

The parliament then will re-convene, at the request of the Queen (thus the Queen’s message), and consider new legislation. The first order of business will be the majority passing a resolution saying that everything it does furthers the goals laid out by the Queen (convenient, eh?).

The second order of business will be the Brexit vote.

    artichoke in reply to stevewhitemd. | August 29, 2019 at 1:46 am

    In that case, if the Queen explicitly calls for no-deal Brexit in her speech, wouldn’t Parliament really have to go along? Since the way to support her call for no-deal Brexit is to allow that to happen.

      stevewhitemd in reply to artichoke. | August 29, 2019 at 7:46 am

      The Queen does not write the “Queen’s Message” — it’s written for her by the majority party. There’s quite a lot that goes into that, as I understand it (any Brit subjects who want to expand and correct, please do!). The Queen doesn’t even it read it to Parliament these days; the Speaker reads it to the Commons, and I’m not sure who reads it to the Lords.

      So the monarch has no real say in what the message is.

In case anybody wonders about the difference between a prime Minister and a President.

    Milhouse in reply to Sally MJ. | August 30, 2019 at 12:39 am

    Not that much. The queen is not really a factor in government, because she must act on her government’s advice. This prorogation wasn’t the Queen’s idea, it was Johnson’s. He advised her to do it, and she had to comply. We have no way of knowing what she thinks about it; she certainly has an opinion, and will have told it to Johnson, but to nobody else.

    The big difference is that a prime minister is not the government. He is merely the leader, the first among equals, but every member of the government has an equal vote, and he can be outvoted, in which case he has to publicly support the collective decision or resign, just like any other minister.

      PoliticsAddict in reply to Milhouse. | August 30, 2019 at 4:17 am

      Except that all ministers/members of the government serve at the pleasure of the Prime Minister. So he can simply sack any who disagree and appoint new ministers. There are no approval hearings as in the US. This regularly happens. I cannot ever recall a Prime Minister being outvoted in cabinet, they wouldn’t bring a formal vote without knowing. The opposite happens quite often, where ministers can’t agree with the PM’s policy and collective responsibility – just as when Boris resigned from Theresa May’s cabinet. Sometimes on principle, sometimes tactical for their own ambition.

      Of course he then creates enemies on the backbenches and some people are seen to be too powerful to sack and potentially lead a revolt/leadership challenge (we had an endless debate about whether Tony Blair could/would ever be able to sack Gordon Brown if it came to it), but the powers of patronage of a Prime Minister are huge. He also recommends honours for those who aspire to being Lord XXX in the future (How does “Lord Farage of Don’t-Split-The-Leave-Vote” sound after the next election?). For ministers, it is quite brutal if they are sacked – one day they have a huge office, police escort and cars, much higher salary, profile, press office, special advisors etc. and if sacked, the next day they basically lose all of it. Makes them think twice before rebelling.

      As the leader of the governing party and with a far more limited role for the House of Lords if the government is implementing a manifesto, he is almost the equivalent of the President (minus the ceremonial part which the Queen does)+Speaker of both US houses in terms of power. But, as we saw with Theresa May, the check on his power is that he could be removed by his own MP’s at any time and the government can be brought down at any time (Fixed Term Parliament Act nuances aside)

      A Prime Minister with a decent majority and a large number of people on the government payroll is more or less a temporary elected dictator (I overstate, but not much). The first-past-the-post system helps create such majorities – if the numbers fall nicely for him, Boris could have a 100+ majority (bulletproof) on <40% of the vote.

If the establishment Brexit opponents collude to bring Corbyn in, they will have opened the door to the end of Britain. What Hitleer failed to do, Corbyn will do.

    CommoChief in reply to JAB. | August 29, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    JAB,

    The EU at the most simplistic level is the voluntarily creation of what Napoleon Bonaparte imposed by conquest; the continental system.

    PoliticsAddict in reply to JAB. | August 30, 2019 at 4:34 am

    JAB,

    If you support Brexit/Boris, I would not be too pessimistic about that scenario. It will not be the end of Britain. He would not actually have a majority to govern.

    IF, and it is a huge if, they actually have the numbers to do this, here is what will happen in my opinion:

    – Significant numbers of Tory remainers will have participated and they will be immediately deselected and replaced in the imminent subsequent election by leavers, so even on the same numbers the “real” majority increases
    – The only remit Corbyn would have (which is why he may not agree) is to seek a 3-6m extension and then call an election
    – In those circumstances, Boris will have to reach an arrangement with the Brexit Party. This is where remainers need to be careful what they wish for, as this might entail a commitment to no deal, even though Boris would likely far prefer a deal/softer exit.
    – There is a chance that the “stop the betrayal election” would give him a big majority with the remain vote split

    The LibDems and SNP are doing well in the polls and would like an election. The Conservative non-majority is so small it could make sense for Boris to gamble, though it is a gamble. The Brexit Party will have lots of leverage in such a situation.

    The big loser I think is Corbyn, who for all his talk I think would be horribly hurt by an election now. Maybe remainers coalesce and he does well. But the Conservatives probably have a floor at 30% (roughly where they are now) and a ceiling of 40% (if they reclaim all of the Tory leavers but not the labour ones). Labour, if it does badly, could really end up at 20% and potentially behind the LibDems and that could be an existential threat to their party, not just him.

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